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District Chain of Communication


Stream of Inspiration at TJL

Stream of Inspiration at TJL photo
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During the first month of the 2017-18 school year, students at Thomas J. Lahey Elementary in the Harborfields Central School District worked on an art project celebrating individuality, based on the book Only One You by Linda Kranz. 

During art class, teachers went through the story page by page, applying the lessons to students’ every-day lives—covering topics such as being different from everyone else, or how to handle adversity. Each student painted a rock as a reflection of themselves and their uniqueness, and placed them in front of the school, creating a “Stream of Inspiration”. 

Students from Ms. Weber’s fifth-grade class were eager to show off their uniqueness. When asked what they liked most about themselves, or what made them one-of-a-kind, students beamed with pride while answering. 

“I like that I’m dependable, especially for my friends and family,” fifth grader Lance said, while another student, Lea, commented, “I’m always honest. No matter what.”

This positive self-view was a goal of the project itself—building a healthy confidence in children who will one day make the world a better place.

A Sound Achievement

A Sound Achievement photo
On Sept. 25 the Harborfields High School chapter of the Tri-M Music Honor Society held its annual induction ceremony.  Seventeen new student members and sixteen continuing student members were inducted into this prestigious organization which recognizes and emphasizes academic achievement, musical success, and service to the community. Additional inductees include the evening’s guest speaker, artistic multi-hyphenate Leer Leary, and Harborfields High School’s Interim Assistant Principal, Mr. Robert Thornton.  
The Harborfields High School Chamber Orchestra, under the direction of Mr. Alan Walter, provided processional music for the evening, and two senior musicians—trombonists Melanie Bautista and Jay Best—performed for the audience with a featured duet.  Both Jay and Melanie were twice recognized as All-State musicians.  
“These students aren’t just some of our finest musicians,” Chapter Advisor Allison Scilla shared.  “They’re some of our finest citizens as well, brightening our school and community with their achievements and service.”               

Christina Amari
Conor Atkinson
Catherine Capodanno
Steven Danielkutty
Sam Edelstein
Michela Eivers
Katie Farkas
Kevin Greenberg
Rochelle Kris
Nick Kropp
Madison Maiella
Adam Marino
Genie Miraglia
Matt Motherway
Jack Salzman
Rachel Scheff
Yatharth Sharma

Message from the Superintendent - October 2017

Outstanding scholar-artists at Harborfields High School

Outstanding scholar-artists at Harborfields High School photo
This year, Harborfields High School students Janie Kowalchuk and Jamie McArthur were selected as Long Island Scholar-Artists and recognized as Merit Award winners by the Long Island Arts Alliance Committee.

To apply, students were first nominated by a school administrator. Nominees then submitted an essay along with material showcasing their dedication to the arts.

Kowalchuk and McArthur were two of 20 recipients of this prestigious award throughout Long Island and are commended for their outstanding success in the arts and their ability to excel academically across all subjects.

Harborfields music students “noted” for outstanding ability

Harborfields music students “noted” for outstanding ability photo
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This year, 13 students have been selected for the NYSCAME All-County music festival. Out of those students, seven have also been selected for the NYSSMA All-State festival.  

NYSCAME All-County is extremely selective, selecting only those 11th and 12th grade musicians ranked with the highest NYSSMA scores across Suffolk County. Selected students will take part in three intensive rehearsal sessions that culminate in a concert on Nov. 17 at 7:30 p.m. at Hauppauge High School.

NYSSMA All-State is based on NYSSMA scores and how those scores compare to other students at the same level across the entire state. The seven students who were selected as All-State musicians will travel to Rochester from Nov. 30¬¬   Dec. 3 to participate in intensive rehearsals, culminating in weekend concerts at the Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre.

"These students are the best of the best. They are extraordinarily disciplined and they're incredibly deserving of this recognition,” Music Department Coordinator Daniel Bilawsky said. “Their achievements are a testament to their hard work and the guidance they receive from their music teachers."

2017 NYSCAME All-County Students
Melanie Bautista - Trombone
Jay Best - Trombone
Cassidy Demilt - Treble Choir
Michela Eivers - Mixed Chorus
Carlos Godoy - Tuba 
Jordan Hutt - Mixed Chorus
Audrey Lenahan - French Horn
Gianna Masi - Violoncello
Jackson McGill - Mixed Chorus
Jillian McGuire - Mixed Chorus
Laura Santoro - Viola
Rachel Scheff - Clarinet 
Celia Spero - Treble Choir

2017 NYSSMA All-State Students
Melanie Bautista - Trombone
Jay Best - Trombone
Audrey Lenahan - French Horn
Gianna Masi - Violoncello
Jillian McGuire - Alto II
Jackson McGill - Tenor I
Celia Spero - Alto II

Harborfields student selected as a National Merit Scholarship Program semifinalist

Harborfields student selected as a National Merit Scholarship Program semifinalist photo
Recently, Harborfields High School announced that senior Emma Johnston was named a semifinalist in the National Merit Scholarship program. 

In order to be eligible for this achievement, students must take the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying test, which 1.6 million students take each year. Johnston took the test last October and her score placed her within the top 16,000 students nationwide—an outstanding achievement. To compete for one of the final 7,500 National Merit Scholarships, students must score well on the upcoming SAT, and continue their dedication to academic excellence. 

“I'm so honored to qualify for this opportunity. I think it's a testament to the great education I've had the privilege of receiving,” Johnston remarked. “I've had some fantastic teachers over the years, and I'm so grateful for their support.”

Honoring veterans at Thomas J. Lahey

Honoring veterans at Thomas J. Lahey photo
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For the first two weeks of the academic year at Thomas J. Lahey Elementary School in the Harborfields Central School District, fifth-graders wrote letters to World War II and Korean conflict veterans — specifically those participating in the Honor Flight, taking place on Sept. 23. 

The Honor Flight is a nonprofit organization that seeks to provide veterans with honor and closure by raising funds and helping them visit the memorials in Washington D.C. that are dedicated to their service. 

This letter-writing project was set into motion by Principal Susan Kenny, who wanted the students to understand the importance of showing veterans appreciation for their sacrifice and bravery.
"Writing letters to our veterans provides an opportunity for students to thank those who fought for the freedom that we have today,” Kenny remarked. “I hope our WWII and Korean War service men and women who are taking the Honor Flight are touched by our students’ sentiments.”

Students took time to reflect on the sacrifices made by servicemen in Sharon Wechsler’s technology class, and many of them crafted touching letters for these veterans. 

A fifth-grader named Henry from Barry Taylor’s class wrote a touching letter to thank a veteran for his service, explaining that he now knows not all heroes wear capes. 

“Now I realize that all heroes do one thing, and that one thing is to save and protect. And that is definitely what you did,” Henry wrote. “I’m so grateful for you being so brave and for fighting for this country.”

Hard workers at Harborfields

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During the Sept. 13 Board of Education meeting, middle school student Omar Lee was acknowledged for his application submission to the Broadcom MASTERS — Math, Applied Science, Technology and Engineering Rising Stars — National Middle School Competition. This achievement set Omar Lee apart as one of the 10 percent of top sixth, seventh and eighth graders in the nation selected to enter this competition. This application showed Omar’s commitment to the pursuit of excellence in his education. 

Along with the student recognition, two staff members were also recognized for their retirement by the board of education. Judy Doran and Andrew Cacciola, who have long been a part of the Harborfields family, were acknowledged and celebrated for their hard work and dedication to the district.

Spirit and Support at Harborfields Homecoming

Spirit and Support at Harborfields Homecoming photo

On Saturday, Sept. 9, Harborfields held their homecoming parade and football game—culminating the week-long celebration of Harborfields spirit and pride.

Following Friday night’s pep rally, where seniors Sam Iglesias and Laura Davis were crowned king and queen, students put the finishing touches on their floats for the parade Saturday morning. This year’s float theme was music, and students got creative with their designs. In grade order, themes included electronic, jazz, country, and rock. On each float, and each class t-shirt, students included cancer awareness symbols to keep the cause at the forefront of the event. Each float collected donations from the crowd to fund research for childhood cancer, which is near to the Harborfields community’s heart. 

Much of the community came out for the parade to support the students, and waved and cheered as they traveled along their route from the Harborfields Public Library to the high school. 

At the homecoming game, the crowd anxiously awaited the start of the game against Kings Park. Some crowd members had large cut-outs of players’ heads, and shook them wildly and cheered when the team ran out onto the field. The Harborfields cheerleaders, marching band, and kick line all worked together in pepping up the crowd, and there was no lack of spirit in the stands that day.

The Harborfields Tornadoes defeated Kings Park 33 to 7, an amazing start to the season, as well as the school year.

Learning to “be yourself” at Washington Drive

Learning to “be yourself” at Washington Drive photo
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On Sept. 7, students at Washington Drive Primary School attended their first “Character Counts” assembly of the year. These assemblies, held by grade level, have grown in frequency over the past few years, and positive results have shown through in students’ behaviors. This month’s iteration focused on encouraging students to be themselves.

Assistant Principal Tara Falasco led the assembly and started it off with reading a book by Linda Kranz entitled “You Be You” to students. Many knew the book, and repeated lines along with her. 

“We all have something special that only we can share,” Falasco encouraged the students, “so when someone is different than you, should you ever judge them?”

Students responded with a resounding “no.” 

She then went over the building rules, reminding the children that these rules were not new to them, and that they were to be good examples for their peers. 

“Why do we have rules in place here at the school?” Falasco asked the second-grade assembly, and called on a student. 

“To keep everyone safe,” the second-grader sagely answered.

Falasco then covered the school-wide incentives to promote good behavior. The “cafetorium contest” rewards students who follow the rules, and the star stickers they receive go towards a prize for the best-behaved table. Students also are given the opportunity to be showcased each month on the “Character Tree” for exemplifying good character, such as acceptance, bravery, or honesty.  

Welcome back to Harborfields students!

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On Tuesday, Sept. 5, the Harborfields Central School District welcomed students back for the 2017-18 school year. At Harborfields High School and Oldfield Middle School, students connected with old friends, set up their lockers, and compared schedules with classmates.

At Thomas J. Lahey Intermediate school, students were excited to be back, and to participate in first day activities such as filling out “first day feelings” worksheets and “welcome back to school” packets. They also jumped into projects such as writing letters to veterans in partnership with the Honor Flight Network.

“Who you are and what you have to say matters,” Thomas J. Lahey  Intermediate School Principal Susan Kelly told students in Mrs. Wechsler and Dr. Jordan’s fourth-grade class.

The Harborfields Central School District is excited for the year ahead, and wishes all students a successful and productive year!

Harborfields swimmers support the fight against cancer

Harborfields swimmers support the fight against cancer photo
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At the end of August, the girls’ varsity swim team participated in an annual fundraiser to help raise money and awareness for cancer research through the Swim Across America organization—this year joined by Smithtown’s varsity team. Together, over 40 swimmers raised $4,000 for the cause, and both teams committed to the event again next year.
Swimmers were thanked and congratulated by Suffolk Legislator William R. Spencer, M.D.

“Your commitment and support will make a meaningful difference in the lives of those affected by cancer,” Spencer said.
In addition to the swim itself, a scientist from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory attended the event, and spoke with the participating swimmers to explain the importance of continuous support and research for cancer. Students were thankful to be able to help such an important cause.

2017-2018 Board Goals

Click here to view the Board Goals

Teaming up for an easier transition

Teaming up for an easier transition photo
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In anticipation of school starting next week, the high school held its annual Buddy Program on Aug. 29. This program helped introduce incoming freshman to the high school with an upperclassman as their guide. 

Assistant Principal Christopher Patronaggio welcomed the Class of 2021 to high school and encouraged them to use the day to ask as many questions as possible of their buddy.

At the same time, Principal Tim Russo encouraged upperclassmen to make sure no freshman was without a buddy, and to answer any and all questions they had.

“I want the upperclassmen to remember what it was like when they started high school and to treat their buddies accordingly,” Russo said.

The two groups were brought together in the gymnasium, waving and greeting each other in excitement. Clusters of buddies formed and left promptly for tours of the school. 

Incoming freshman Kate Lynprainito, before being paired with a buddy, remarked, “I have a general idea of where I’m going, but I think having a buddy will help me solidify my knowledge of where everything is. I’m glad I signed up for this program.”

New Faces at Harborfields

New Faces at Harborfields photo
An orientation for all new teachers was held on Aug. 29 at the high school. The purpose of the orientation was to acclimate new staff to the policies and procedures of the district, as well as the community and the culture of the surrounding area.
During the day, teachers got to know each other and worked closely with administrators on some new technological initiatives that Harborfields is implementing. 

Each new teacher was given a mentor to ensure success during his/her first year and onward into the future. They were also encouraged take part in workshops for professional development beginning in the fall, covering topics from emotional health and mindfulness to being technologically savvy.

“We want this transition to be as smooth as possible,” commented Executive Director for Instructional Services Jordan Cox. “We want them to know what the district’s expectations are, but also to feel at home and a part of our family here at Harborfields.”

Sewing Workshop Brings Students Together One Stitch at a Time

Sewing Workshop Brings Students Together One Stitch at a Time Photo

Before the start of the new school year, 16 incoming K-5 students took part in the Stuffed Creature Workshop, the final camp session of HACEF’s (Harborfields Alumni and Community Educational Foundation) Summer Camp Program from Aug. 21-24.

Led by Keri Puglisi from EmmaLoops Craft Studio, students gathered at Harborfields High School to explore hand sewing techniques and create their own stuffed animals, pillows and creatures. The four-day camp consisted of learning how to cut, pin and hand sew their custom designs while adding different embellishments like buttons and beads. With the help of two incoming seventh-graders and two 11th-graders, each student had the opportunity to create as many stuffed objects as they wanted, while making friendships along the way. 

“I like sewing little animals and things,” said incoming fourth-grader Lia Calderone. “I haven’t sewed in a while so I’m now remembering how to do it again.” 

This was the first year that HACEF invited Puglisi into the summer program as a way to enhance the program with two new creative sessions for students to enjoy. In addition to the Stuffed Creature Workshop, Puglisi taught a four-day knitting camp at the end of July.  

"Keri's ability to teach sewing and knitting skills to a wide age range of children is unusual,” said HACEF Camp Co-Director Emma Hendler. "She is a great addition to the HACEF summer camp program.”